America Needs a Bottom/Up Trajectory

If the 2016 presidential race stays true to form, it will be dominated by preliminary bouts, otherwise known as primaries, followed by the main event being the General Election.

The primaries will be a competition to see who is more in touch with the respective party's base. This means Democrat and Republican candidates will appeal more to their parties more ideological sectors, only to make a mad dash to the center after the nomination process is complete.

With some exceptions, this has been the basic formula that both parties have employed for the last four decades. It depends on a linear left/right axis.

What's great about this approach is its neatness, or at a minimum the appearance thereof. For the portion of the electorate that participates in the political process, it is a call to arms--to hunker down in the predictable silos of orthodoxy, questioning the sanity of those who possess the unmitigated gall to see the world differently.

But it is a shell game. It is no different from those great magicians who effectively use misdirection to have the audience focus on something, which is often insignificant, in order to successfully perform the illusion.

While the nation over this 40-year period has focused on so called hot button issues such as affirmative action, illegal immigration, tough on crime polices, and gay rights, the slight of hand misdirection has effectively changed the American landscape.

Titillated by the emotion that the aforementioned issues as well as others provoke, there was no time to see how both parties have become addicted to the opiate of campaign contributions. Dominated by narrowly defined corporate interests, the electorate, largely frustrated and fearful, must take slender solace in the supporting candidates whose rhetoric is most in line with their preconceived assumptions.

In his two campaigns for president, Barack Obama spent in excess of $1.8 billion. How many still believe that amount was the result of average Americans sending $50 checks?

According to Politico, Charles and David Koch (aka the Koch brothers) have an operation that plans to spend $889 million to elect someone to a job that pays $400,000 annually.

While some are still whipped into a frenzy about the Supreme Court's decision to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states, lest we forget corporations have gained First Amendment privileges. Which is really more harmful to our nation's future?

It's time for the largest and most diverse segment of Americans to change the axis that the nation currently operates. Instead of operating on a left/right axis, why not go in a bottom/up direction?

This is the only way to combat the unhealthy methodical direction that America has been on since the end of the Civil Rights Movement. That majestic movement forced America to come closer to the values that it committed to paper in 1787.

It was the decade of the 60s when the Civil Rights Movement begat the Free Speech movement, which begat the Vietnam protest, which begat environmental legislation. Each movement began at the bottom treading the arduous path upward.

The Occupy Wall Street and tea party efforts offered glimpses of this bottom/up effort but ultimately fell short. The occupy movement didn't have the messaging to hold the nation's attention; and the tea party has been coopted by moneyed interests and now sits comfortably on the left/right alignment.

A bottom/up trajectory can create new alliances; some that may be initially philosophically opposed. Whether one is liberal or conservative, income inequality is real.

Income inequality, in my view, is the holding company for the myriad subsidiaries that are void of a moral order. The current left/right axis possesses no moral direction--that is invariably created from a bottom/up ethos.

While much of America is moving at the frantic pace of the hamster on a treadmill, they are being encouraged by a bipartisan coalition of left/right advocates, passionately reminding them to pay no attention to the person behind the curtain.

But this is merely the rhetoric to maintain a maladjusted status quo.

It is a status quo that benefits a few. Using the art of misdirection, it effectively keeps the nation on a left/right axis because it knows once the trajectory becomes bottom/up substantive change is around the corner.